2 [L For] I want you to know how hard I ·work [contend; struggle] for you, those in Laodicea [C a city northwest of Colossae; 4:16; Rev. 3:14–22], and others who have never ·seen me [met me personally; L seen my face in the flesh]. 2 I want ·them [L their hearts] to be ·strengthened [encouraged; comforted] and joined together with love so that they may be rich in their ·understanding [L assurance of understanding]. This leads to their knowing fully God’s ·secret [mystery; 1:26], that is, Christ himself. 3 In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are ·safely kept [hidden].
4 I say this so that no one can ·fool [deceive] you by ·arguments that seem good, but are false [persuasive/enticing/specious arguments]. 5 [L For] Though I am absent from you in my body, ·my heart is [in spirit I am] with you, and I ·am happy [rejoice] to see your ·good lives [discipline; orderly lives; or unbroken ranks] and your ·strong [firm; steadfast] faith in Christ.
Continue to Live in Christ
6 [L Therefore] As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to ·live [walk] in him. 7 Keep your roots deep in him and have your lives built on him. Be ·strong [established] in the faith, just as you were taught, ·and always be thankful [abounding/overflowing with gratitude].
8 ·Be sure [Be careful; Watch; See] that no one ·leads you away [takes you captive; captivates you] with ·false [deceptive] and ·empty [worthless] teaching that is ·only human [L according to human traditions], which comes from the ·ruling spirits [elemental spiritual forces (demons); or elementary teachings] of this world, and not from Christ. 9 ·All of God lives fully in Christ [L For in him all the fullness of deity dwells] ·in a human body [bodily; embodied], 10 and you have ·a full and true life in Christ [L been filled in him], who is ·ruler [L head] over every ruler and ·power [authority].
11 In Christ you were also circumcised, but not with a circumcision done by hands [Rom. 2:28; Phil. 3:3]. It was ·a circumcision done by Christ [L the circumcision of Christ], which ·freed you from [put off; cut away] ·the power of your sinful self [your sinful nature; L the body of flesh; C just as OT circumcision cut off the physical flesh, so Christ’s circumcision “cuts off” the “flesh”—the power of our sinful self]. 12 When you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and you were raised up with him through your faith in the ·power [working; active agency] of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 When you were ·spiritually dead [L dead] ·because of [or in] your sins and ·because you were not free from the power [L in the uncircumcision] of your ·sinful self [sinful nature; flesh], God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our ·sins [transgressions]. 14 He ·canceled [wiped out; erased] the ·record [certificate] of debt, ·which listed all the rules we failed to follow [L with its decrees that were against us; C the record of sins revealed through the OT law; Eph. 2:15]. He ·took it away [set it aside; destroyed it] and nailed it to the cross. 15 ·God [or Christ; L He] ·stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority [L disarmed/despoiled the rulers and authorities]. With the cross, he won the victory and ·showed the world that they were powerless [publicly shamed them; made a public spectacle of them; C like a triumphant general displaying his captives in a victory parade].
Don’t Follow People’s Rules
16 So do not let anyone ·make rules for [or criticize; judge; or condemn] you about eating and drinking or about a religious ·feast [festival], a New Moon Festival [2 Kin. 4:23; Neh. 10:33], or a Sabbath day [C religious observances that false teachers pressured the Colossians to keep]. 17 These things ·were like [L are] a shadow of what was to come. But ·what is true and real has come and is found in Christ [or the reality/substance belongs to Christ; L the body (is) of Christ]. 18 Do not let anyone disqualify you by ·insisting on [or delighting in] self-denial [asceticism; or false humility] and worship of angels. Such people ·enter into [or talk endlessly about; or pin their hopes on] visions, which ·fill them [puff them up] with ·foolish pride [or empty notions] because of their ·human way of thinking [unspiritual/worldly/carnal minds; L mind of the flesh]. 19 They ·do not hold tightly [or have no connection] to the head [C Christ]. It is from him that all the parts of the body are ·cared for [supported] and held together through its joints and ligaments. So it grows in the way God ·wants [or causes] it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ·ruling spirits [elemental spiritual forces (demons); or elementary teachings; v. 8] of the world, why do you act as if you still ·belong to [L are living in] this world by following rules like these: 21 “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t even touch that thing”? 22 These rules refer to ·earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used [L things that all perish with use]. They are only human commands and teachings. 23 They ·seem to be wise [have an appearance of wisdom], with their ·religious devotion [or forced piety; or asceticism], false humility, and ·harsh treatment [severe discipline] of their bodies. But they ·do not really control [have no value against] the ·evil desires [indulgence] of the ·sinful self [sinful nature; flesh].